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Iranian Foreign Minister to arrive on Wednesday

During his three-day trip, Mottaki will also travel to Gujarat to visit the factories of ESSAR which has oil interests in Iran.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 21:06 IST

Tehran's controversial nuclear programme and the proposed tri-nation gas pipeline project are expected to dominate the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to New Delhi beginning Wednesday.

Mottaki will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday and the entire gamut of issues ranging from bilateral cooperation and matters concerning the region are expected to figure in the discussions.

Iran's controversial nuclear programme and its stand-off with the IAEA and the international community are expected to figure in the discussions. India had voted twice against Iran's atomic programme at the IAEA.

Setting the tone for tomorrow's talks, the Prime Minister said on Tuesday that New Delhi favours dialogue rather than coercion to resolve the controversy of Iran's nuclear programme.

"Instead of coercive diplomacy, dialogue and discussion must be given the prominence it deserves," he said.

India has maintained that Iran has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy but at the same time it must fulfil its obligations as signatory of the NPT.

Among the bilateral issues, the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) are likely to figure prominently in the talks that Mottaki will have with Singh as well as Oil and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.

The $7 billion IPI project has failed to take off as Iran's new government is demanding upward revision of the price of gas that India will buy. New Delhi is resisting it.

During his three-day trip, Mottaki will also travel to Gujarat to visit the factories of ESSAR which has oil interests in Iran.